On This Day in Aviation History DECEMBER 4th

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1885 - Birth of Franz Walz, German WWI flying ace and WWII Luftwaffe high ranking officer. -

1892 - Birth of Ross Macpherson 'Hadji' Smith, Australian aviator, WWI flying ace, who, along with his brother, Keith Macpherson Smith, became the 1st pilots to fly from England to Australia, -

1892 - Birth of David MacKay McGoun, Canadian WWI flying ace -

1894 - Birth of Cecil Robert "Ruggles" Thompson, South african WWI flying ace -

1894 - Polish Arthur Josef Stanislaus Berson ascended to a then-record altitude of 9,155 meters aboard the hydrogen balloon 'Phoenix'.

1896 - Birth of Frederick Robert Gordon McCall, Canadian WWI fighter ace, Stunt pilot and commercial pilot, founder of McCall Aero Corporation Limited and Great Western Airways. He was recalled to service with the RCAF as a Squadron Leader at the arrival of WWII. -

1897 - Birth of Alexandre Léonel Pierre 'Lionel' de Marmier, French WWI flying ace, Nieuport test pilot, pioneering airliner and airmail pilot, Air France test pilot, Spanish war and WWII pilot. -

1897 - Birth of James Alfred Keating, American WWI flying ace -

1897 - Birth of Harold Edgar Mott, Canadian WWI flying ace

1908 - Englishman John Theodore Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon (later Lord Tara of Brabazon) makes a flight of 1,350 ft. in a Voisin biplane at Issy-les-Moulineaux in France. He became one of the guiding lights of early British aviation and is later issued the 1st British pilot's license, then called an aviator's certificate.

1911 - 1st flight of the Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.1., British single-engine two-seat biplane prototype, 1st tractor biplane to be designed by Geoffrey de Havilland.

1912 - Birth of Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC WWII fighter ace -

1914 - The German Navy forms its 1st seaplane unit.

1916 - Death of Hans Schilling, german WWI flying ace (as observer), Killed in action in his Halberstadt. -

1918 - Maj. Albert D. Smith leaves San Diego for Jacksonville in the Armys 1st trans-continental flight with 4 Four Curtiss JN-4.

1918 - Birth of Willard Wesley 'Millie' Millikan, USAF WWII and Korean war fighter pilot. -

1919 - 1st flight of The Handley Page W.8, British two-engine medium-range biplane airliner, company's 1st civil transport aircraft, world's 1st airliner to be designed with an on-board lavatory, later developped in three-engine as the W.9 and W.10.

1925 - Death of Georg Strasser, German WWI flying ace and Junker test pilot, killed in a crash at Dessau. -

1933 - 1st flight of The RWD 9, Polish sports plane.

1934 - 1st flight of the Lioré et Olivier LeO H-43, French 3 seat mid-wing monoplane reconnaissance seaplane. -

1935 - Death of Charles Robert Richet, French physiologist (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1913), aviation pioneer and early gyroplane designer.

1937 - 1st launch of an Aggregate A3 Rocket (Operation Lighthouse), German liquid-fuel rocket built by Wernher von Braun and Walter Dornberger. -

1938 - 1st flight of The Miles M.18, British single-engine twin-seat low-winged light civil utility aircraft

1942 - Death of Hugh Gordon Malcolm, Scottish WWII pilot, killed in his Blenheim near Chougui, Tunisia.

1942 - 9th United States Army Air Force (USAAF) Consolidated B24 Liberators make the 1st American attack on Italy bombing Naples.

1943 - Death of Paul Montange, French WWI flying ace -

1944 - 1st fligth of the Bristol Brigand, British twin engine anti-shipping/ground attack/dive bomber attack aircraft.

1945 - Birth of Roberta Lynn Bondar, Canada's 1st female astronaut and the 1st neurologist in space.

1947 - 1st flight of The Fairey FB-1 Gyrodyne, experimental British rotorcraft that used single lifting rotor and a tractor propeller mounted on the tip of the starboard stub wing to provide both propulsion and anti-torque reaction.

1952 - Birth of Ronald "Ron" Michael Sega, American engineer, USAF pilot and NASA astronaut.

1952 - 1st flight of The Grumman S-2 Tracker, American twin engine, high wing and tricycle undercarriage, 1st purpose-built, single airframe anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft to enter service with the US Navy.

1952 - 1st flight of The Grumman C-1 Trader, American carrier onboard delivery (COD) aircraft, variant of the Grumman S-2 Tracker

1956 - The Aerfer Sagittario 2, Italian prototype all-metal single-seat lightweight fighter aircraft, is the 1st aircraft of Italian design to exceed Mach unity reaching Mach 1.1 in a dive

1958 - 1st flight of The Baade 152 (Dresden 152, VL-DDR 152 or simply 152), 1st German jet passenger airliner.

1959 - Death of Albert Joe Hickman, US navy aviator. He was flying a F3H Demon that suddenly stalled. He could have ejected and saved his life. However, below him was a school with hundreds of children. He then chose to stay in the cockpit and navigate the aircraft away from the school. Thereby he potentially saved hundreds of children's lives. However, after he had navigated the aircraft away from the school he was too close to ground to be able to eject. -

1959 - Launch Little Joe 2, test of the Mercury space capsule, 1st American animal spaceflight, carrying the Rhesus monkey Sam.

1965 - Eastern Air Lines Flight 853 Lockheed Super Constellation collided in mid-air with Trans World Airlines Flight 42 Boeing 707-131B while approaching Carmel VORTAC at the same time and at the same altitude. TWA Flight 42 made an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport, while Eastern Air Lines Flight 853 was forced to make a crash landing on Hunt Mountain near Danbury, Connecticut. Only 4 were killed over a total of 108.

1965 - Launch of Gemini 7, NASA spaceflight for investigating the effects of 14 days in space on the human body.

1969 - Air France Flight 212 Boeing 707-328B dove into the sea into 160 feet of water just after take off from Caracas International airport killing all 62.

1970 - Death of Benjamin Odell Howard, American aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, air racer and aircraft designer.

1973 - Pioneer 10 (originally designated Pioneer F), American 258-kilogram robotic space probe makes its closest approach to Jupiter at 132,252 km.

1974 - Martinair Flight 138 Douglas DC-8 crashed into "Saptha Kanya" Mountain at an altitude of approximately 4,355 feet and at around 40 nm east of Colombo, shortly before landing at Bandaranaike International Airport, killing all 191 aboard.

1977 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 Boeing 737-2H6 is hijacked and crashes in Tanjong Kupang, Johor, killing 100.

1978 - Death of Giles Noble Blennerhasset, Irish WWI fighter ace. -

1978 - Pioneer Venus Orbiter, NASA space probe, enters in orbit around Venus.

1983 – In reprisal to an attack on United States military bases in Beirut, 28 United States Navy A-6 Intruders attack suspected terrorist bases in Libya. One Intruder and one LTV A-7 Corsair II were downed by Syrian missiles.

1991 - Pan American World Airways ceases operations. Captain Mark Pyle pilots 'Clipper Goodwill', a Pan American World Airways Boeing 727-221ADV, to Miami International Airport ending 64 years of Pan Am operations.

1996 - Launch of Mars Pathfinder (MESUR Pathfinder), American spacecraft to land a base station with roving probe on Mars.

1998 - Launch of STS-88, 1st Space Shuttle mission to the ISS flown by Endeavour carrying Unity, 1st U.S.-built component for the ISS.

2009 - 1st flight of the Eurocopter EC175 (Avicopter Z-15), European 7-ton class medium utility helicopter.

2010 - Dagestan Airlines Flight 372 Tupolev Tu-154M skidded off the runway following an emergency landing at Domodedovo International Airport, 45 km south-east of Vnukovo, after it lost 2 of the 3 engines after takeoff. 2 over 168 were killed.